Nuclear weapons and non-state actors

The evolving threat of nuclear terrorism

Authored by: Paul Wilkinson

Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  February  2012

Print ISBN: 9781857436044
eBook ISBN: 9780203840849
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter will examine the changing relationship between nuclear weapons and non-state actors from the end of the Second World War to the end of the first decade of the 21st century. It will conclude with a brief assessment of the threat of nuclear weapons being used by terrorist groups in the future. Is the threat credible? Which groups would be the likely perpetrators? What form would such future terrorism be likely to take? What steps are being taken to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons materials and technology to non-state actors and how effective are they? What measures and responses should be planned and exercised to deal with the eventuality of some form of future nuclear terrorist attack?

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